Saturday, January 30, 2010
Preview: USC at Oregon
By Pedro Moura
USC and Oregon are about to tip off at MacArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. at 3 p.m.
The Ducks (11-9, 3-5) ended a five-game losing streak with a 71-66 overtime win over UCLA on Thursday.
The Trojans (12-8, 4-4) fell to Oregon State, 51-45, in a near-repeat of a 2009 game in Corvallis.
If last year means anything today, USC thoroughly dominated Oregon then, 83-62, by virtue of a breakout 26-point performance for Dwight Lewis.
Lewis and forward Marcus Johnsonwill be big today for the Trojans, who need their swingmen to outplay Oregon's Tajuan Porter, LeKendric Longmire and Teondre Williams.
Porter measures in at only 5 feet 6 and 150 pounds but plays a hybrid guard spot – basically, he just shoots a lot, and not too efficiently at 37 percent. Sophomore Malcolm Armstead is more of a true point for the Ducks, averaging 4.4 assists.
An interesting battle to watch will be down low, where Oregon's Michael Dunigan is perhaps the best post player USC's Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson have dealt with in the conference. Dunigan, who averages nearly 11 points and six rebounds, had a dominating stretch of games in December and January but has since cooled. He put up eight points, six rebounds, and three blocks against the Bruins on Thursday.
Today will mark USC's final visit to "The Pit," as MacArthur Court is affectionately known. The Trojans have had good success there in recent years, winning their last four games in Eugene. The Pit is planned to be replaced by the new Matthew Knight Arena by next January.
No television once again in the Los Angeles area, but we'll have a postgame report on the blog.